The world-famous HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS were originally formed from the Wendell Phillips High School. The team played in the Negro American Legion League as the "Giles Post," and in 1927 turned professional as the Savoy Big Five under manager Dick Hudson. Later that year, promoter Abe Saperstein (Hall of Fame, 1971) bought the team and re-named it the Harlem Globetrotters.
Up until the late 1930s, the Globetrotters were a serious competitive team. Starting with the acquisition of Inman Jackson, the Globetrotters began to work more light entertainment and comedic routines into their appearances, but could still play with the best of the professional teams. In 1939, the Globetrotters were runners-up to the New York Rens (Hall of Fame, 1963) in the World Professional Basketball Tournament in Chicago.
The team won the tournament in 1940. After World War II, the Globetrotters became real "globetrotters," travelling the world and entertaining thousands. With players such as Geese Ausbie, Goose Tatum, 1998 Hall of Famer Marques Haynes, Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon, the Globetrotters quickly became ambassadors of bringing their showmanship to millions. The team has played over 20,000 games in more than 100 countries around the world.